From left: Corrections Sergeant Latasha Henderson and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman; Crime Scene Unit Supervisor Candace Matthews and Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman. Not pictured: Christopher A. Schale
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman presented several awards during a ceremony Tuesday to recognize the 2022 Supervisors of the Year.
Corrections Sergeant Latasha Henderson, 2022 Courts and Corrections Supervisor of the Year, was assigned as the Court Services Bureau Felony Court Unit Supervisor in April 2021 and has maintained the assignment to date. Henderson was the first court deputy to complete the corrections sergeant promotional process. Along with her staff, she aims to provide a safe and secure environment for judges, jurors, court administrative staff, inmates, and the public. She manages the day-to-day court operations but additionally contributes by conducting courtroom opening procedures, supervising in-custody defendants during court hearings, escorting jurors, managing jury meals, giving staff members breaks, and posting as the backup deputy during courtroom proceedings. During 2022 several high-interest trials were held in the 12th Judicial Circuit that concluded without incident or disruption due to Henderson's planning and leadership. A few months later, she coordinated logistical difficulties, security, and media relations for a joint trial for first-degree murder, again without incident.
Crime Scene Unit Supervisor Candace Matthews, 2022 Civilian Supervisor of the Year, started her career with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in June 2016. Matthews is currently the Supervisor of the Crime Scene Unit and is responsible for six crime scene technicians, assigning cases, maintaining schedules, and coordinating crime scene investigations while simultaneously performing technician duties and supervising the lab and garage. Throughout 2022, she has focused on preparing the crime lab for accreditation to achieve international accreditation within 18 months. The Florida Sheriff's Cold Case Advisory Commission has recognized Matthews for her contributions to Forensic Science. In 2022, she supervised three officer-involved shootings and ensured her unit and personnel performed at the highest level. Working directly with State Representative McFarland on the language for Florida's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) bill, Matthews recently took the initiative to advocate for including civilian crime scene personnel under PTSD coverage. The governor will receive the bill in the coming weeks.
Sergeant Christopher A. Schale, 2022 Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Year, has held many positions at the sheriff's office. Schale has been in patrol, criminal investigations, and the traffic unit. He is a member of the SWAT team and currently serves in the intelligence unit. This varied range of service within the agency has made him an influential leader. Schale supervises seven sworn personnel, civilian crime analysts, and two digital forensics examiners while overseeing the intelligence unit, Digital Forensics Laboratory (DFL), and the Internet Crimes Against Children detectives. Under his supervision, he implemented new case-tracking software to ensure better accountability and tracking. Outside of his regular duties, Schale took an interest in the intelligence unit budget and saved the agency over $52,000 per year in contract fees by streamlining all aspects of the process.
"Supervisors in our agency have the privilege of keeping the standards high and working with others daily to strengthen our agency as a whole," said Sheriff Hoffman. "We are awed by the leadership they model in their positions and the example they set for others who work with them."